|A heavenly mutation
REVIEW - LADYTRON
Koko by GEOFFREY SAWYER
IT is hard not to imagine that Ladytron came into existence in
a Fly-like experiment that went dreadfully wrong some time at the
end of the 1980s; that a rock band and synth group were somehow
mutated together as they were transported through the ether, and
a little Beatles and Abba got thrown into the mix too. It sounds
like a bad recipe but, with a hard bass and drums supporting their
beautiful soundscapes and the glacial vocals of Helen Marnie and
Mira Aroyo, any Darwinist would conclude a superior mutation.
Reuben Wu and Danny Hunt dressed in tight black sweaters with big
moustaches and bigger hair sit at the back on drums and rhythm box
adding a later Beatlesque seasoning to the Liverpool-based classic
two-boy two-girl combo. (Though there are an extra couple of musicians
Marnie and Aroyo, are surrounded by their retro-synths and sing
alternately or in harmony. Add in their knee-length black dresses,
high black boots, dark hair and ice-maiden cool and its as
if Tim Burton had given Agnetha and Frida from Abba a make over.
Its almost kinky. They look good, but more importantly, they
Showcasing tracks from their latest album Witching Hour with minimal
chat, they launch straight into the dissonant and guitar heavy High
Rise and the mellow Destroy Everything You Touch.
Ladytrons earlier songs, though, have a ghostly yearning quality
to them, no more so than in He Took Her to a Movie from 604 or the
final encore track, Seventeen from the last album, Light and Magic.
At one point their frenetic drumming and lightshow is dazzling and
breathtaking, the next their melodies are spine-tingling.
Authentic night of Staines indie
REVIEW - HARD-FI
Electric Ballroom by Charlotte Chambers
EVERYBODY likes some indie bands, but once theyve got big
like, say Oasis and Blur in 1995 then theyre
Proper indie is Staines-massive Hard-Fi, who played some outstanding
tracks at the Electric Ballroom on Thursday night.
While avoiding sweaty men falling on me and having to peer round
geeks with their phones out all night why? an indie-sceptic
was sold by this jacketed-up four-piece. Their standout anthem is
Unnecessary Trouble, which sounds destined to be a pub singalong-at-closing-time
when youre 16 (I mean 18) song.
The guitar-led outfit are being raved about in the music press and
the red-tops some mean feat in itself while rumours
fly that they would have won the Mercury Prize this year if it hadnt
have been for that pesky American bloke who looks like a girl (who
won it instead).
Although I couldnt help but be distracted by Wallace-lookalike
(of Gromit fame) singer Richard Archers penchant for sticking
his tongue out, I was won over by Cash Machine, album track Stars
of CCTV, and of course, Living for the Weekend.
Altogether now Working all week Im bored
paid.. Living for the weekend or maybe not in Camden
When Archer enthusiastically rallied the crowd with: Who heres
got a sh*t job and sh*t money? a low-key response from the
audience told you all you need to know about rock fans theyre
all accountants really.
Catch Hard-Fis de rigueur Jo Whiley voice-over ad on the telly,
or if you are an accountant, splash out on the album.
Poets from hip-hops roots come
REVIEW - ONE NATION UNDER A GROOVE
Forum by Elva Tynan
AN extremely eclectic crowd greeted MC Suheir Hammad.
He eulogised about the climate of the times, how and when hip hop
originated, and why it is so deeply entrenched within the sub cultures
of New York.
It was clear that the message of the night was to promote international
solidarity between races and cultures.
Artists and poets, including Benjamin Zephaniah, spoke passionately
about the need for non-violence in the face of injustice
indeed it had a poignant significance for the Birmingham-born poet,
for as he spoke there were riots breaking out in his hometown.
Rappers on the bill echoed his ideals of freedom and liberty.
Its hard to forget the sparkling performance by support act
Dead Prez whose mission it was to rock the house. They blew the
stage up and everything around it. New York rapper Pharoahe Monch
was greeted by a delirious crowd when he finally got onstage.
He proceeded to tear up the place as he delivered his masterful
lyrics. He rapped with piercing accuracy: laughter and spirit filled
Hands were thrown up to the sky; the mood was totally infectious.
His new joints were well received, while the audience erupted at
old number Simon Says. Monch has just come out of his old recording
deal and I cannot wait to hear his new album.
Graham Coxon looks on the bright side
WHERE DO YOU GO OUT IN CAMDEN?
I dont really go out in Camden. Although Camdens the
only place Id live in London, Londons crap, you cant
WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO AT THE MOMENT?
Any song that resonates with me, folk music. I like songs that tell
stories. Whats in the charts now is rubbish. I like the Arctic
Monkeys, Bob Dylan, Freddie King.
WHATS ON YOUR MIND?
Im not comfortable with the world we live in. The world is
in a state of yearning and the country is rubbish. I just stay in
and watch the news and get despondent.
WHATS THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR JOB?
Ive had more comments about my depressing songs than any others.
Its great when people say Ive helped them through hard
times Ive been through addictions myself. This country
is always ashamed about being open but I like it. Im not ashamed
to speak my opinion, I havent changed, I just care less what
people think of me. Im very self-conscious, but I say what
WHY DO YOU THINK THE CHARTS ARE RUBBISH?
Because kids just listen to what theyre told to, no one has
the idea to listen to something on their own. The radio directs
them to what is palatable. It is not a dynamic scene. When I was
a kid I was listening to The Beatles, The Who, The Jam and Public
Enemy. People who dont care about being cool are the ones
that go and find something inspiring.
You have to question what will stand up over time.
You can tell a good song: there are some that people talk over but
the ones where people go shhh theyre the
classics. I hope some Blur will stand up and be timeless in sound.
WHAT IS YOUR RANT?
I hate Specsavers. Theyre so bland.
Charlotte Chambers spoke to Graham Coxon after his gig at the
Colour Bar in Inverness Street.
My top five
John Paul OLeary, 16, who lives in Hadley Street, Kentish
town picks his favourite five songs:
Stand By Me by Ben E King;
Ill Be Missing You by Puff Daddy and Faith Evans;
Flowers by Sweet FA;
Hero by Mariah Carey;
Unchained Melody by The Righteous Brothers
CLICK HERE FOR LISTINGS
A premiere for intifada deaths
WORLD PREMIERE - PHILIP MUNGERS THE SKIES ARE WEEPING
THE world premiere of a work dedicated to the memories of peace
campaigners Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall is to be performed at
the Hackney Empire on Tuesday.
Philip Mungers The Skies are Weeping was due to be first performed
in Anchorage, Alaska, but it was cancelled following email and telephone
So now the piece is coming here and is for soprano, chamber choir
and percussion. Soprano Deborah Fink will be joined by pianist Dominic
Saunders and the London Percussion Ensemble.
American composer Munger has been based in Alaska since 1973 and
has consistently written music questioning American foreign and
His work has been performed at the Lincoln and Kennedy centres and
the Warsaw Conservatory.
Rachel Corrie was killed by an Israeli bulldozer as she tried to
stop a Palestinian doctors house in the West Bank being flattened
and photographer Tom Hurndall, from Tufnell Park, was shot dead
in Gaza while trying to protect Palestinian children.
The piece is dedicated to the memory of Ms Corrie and the second
movement is dedicated to Mr Hurndall.
The concert also features the UK Premiere of the Singer of Wind
and Rain, five songs on Palestinian poems set by Gregory Youtz,
Israeli, Palestinian and Yemenite songs set to jazz, and traditional
Palestinian dance perform by the group Dabka.
Call 020 8985 2424.
NPO perform the standards
PREVIEW - NEW PROFESSIONALS ORCHESTRA
St John at Hampstead
A CROWD pleasing concert is taking place at St Johns at
Hampstead on Saturday featuring the New Professionals Orchestra.
The audience will be able to enjoy Barbers Adagio for Strings
a piece oft played but always moving and Brahms fourth
But perhaps the highlight will be Beethovens Violin Concerto,
the soloist is Thomas Gould, who grew up in Hampstead and left the
Royal Academy of Music with first class honours.
It is a tremendously satisfying piece and one which nearly all lead
violinists enjoy playing it is full of virtuoso passages.
I have a particularly entertaining Deutsche Gramophone recording
featuring Wolfgang Schneiderhan whose solos were adapted from the
piano version of the same piece and I never tire of listening to
If this performance can come anywhere close then the audience will
be left thrilled. Ring 020 8202 9289.
Puccini on the hill
PREVIEW - HAMPSTEAD GARDEN OPERA
Upstairs at The Gatehouse, Highgate
IT is that time of a year again when the Hampstead Garden Opera
(HGO) company come to Highgate to perform their six monthly production.
So this time we have Puccinis Madam Butterfly running from
November 3 to 13.
The HGO is that rare thing, an amateur opera company that put verve
and spirit into their productions, so this should be worth taking
time out to enjoy. The opening night is in aid of The Samaritans.
It runs at Upstairs at the Gatehouse, Highgate Hill, N6. Call 020
8340 3488. Performances at 7.30pm, and matinees at 4pm.
CLICK HERE FOR LISTINGS
Get to work on your tannin
BORDEAUX winemakers long regarded as the worlds greatest
are in trouble. Government health campaigns and strict enforcement
of French drink driving laws are causing a dramatic decrease in French
It all comes down to cash
AFTER confessing to not being able to swim the other week, I was deluged
with offers of help.